Having read the koran in English in a version given to me at a local mosque, the horror that is in the sugar coated version alone should be enough to put any thinking person off. Nonetheless it appears, as it so often does with Islam, that what I thought was awful is in fact closer to pure horror. H/T DP111
Non-Muslims or exMuslims who know Islam’s text in the Arabic and particularly those who know classical Arabic (few people) will tell you that the text is ‘worse’ meaning more horrifying and more deadly in the original classical Arabic than we are led to believe in English ‘translations.’ Islamic terminology carries with it concepts, cultural practices and a worldview belonging to an ancient Arab society. The words translated into English or modern European languages fail to convey the full meaning that would be understood in an Arabic/Muslim society. Only the original classical Arabic koran is the true text which cannot be changed and anything else is merely an interpretation and can be ‘modified.’ Dr Mark Durie a linguist and specialist in Islam explains some of the problems with our correct understanding of Islamic text which is often a translation of the ‘meaning’ as explained by the commentaries rather than a direct translation. He notes that the real meaning can be ‘lost in translation’ with possible disastrous results as we fail to comprehend the real message in Islamic text.
Dr Durie notes — Reading the Quran presents many challenges. One is that the Arabic of the Quran is often just hard to understand. It contains many opaque words and expressions, and the mode of expression is often highly elliptical, leaving out material which the reader must infer.
Translations are often ‘translations of meaning’ eg ‘The Noble Koran: English translations of the meanings and commentary’ — Endowment for allah’s sake from the custodian of the two holy mosques King Abdullah ibn’Abd al-‘Aziz al Sa’ud.
Does the supposedly divine origin of the koran render it untranslatable? Or are there problems?
Ibn Warraq (1995) notes the use of at least 275 ‘foreign’ words ie not Arabic while the koran is supposed to be in perfect Arabic –eg Hebrew words and concepts plus a great many Aramaic and Syriac words and ideas, also Ethiopic, Persian, and Greek. The word koran comes from the Syriac (Warraq 1995 p 108) .
There are variant versions of the koran so the claim of one pure unaltered version is false. Immense errors are noted in the style, the broken or missing sequence of events, the poor connection of ideas, sentences where the beginning and end don’t fit grammatically, and phrases and words which are repeated.
“Seemingly unrelated verses often sit side by side, for example, while duplicate material, exact phrases, or even entire verses may be situated in entirely different contexts’(Reuven Firestone, Islamics professor)
Stories from others have been plagiarised and distorted and are better read and understood from their original, non-Muslim source. Verses seem to have been added while others are missing and many inconsistencies show that considerable revision has occurred.
Arabic writing was far from settled at the claimed time the koran was revealed with possible confusion over consonants and vowels resulting in many possible ‘readings.’ Yet claims are made that it is ‘clear’ or mubeen (eg Koran 5:15, 12:1; 15:1; 26:2; 27:1; 28:2; 43:2; 44:2)
But all these problems are smoothed over and we are fed a sugary version of the ‘meaning’ of the text as the aim is to attract people to Islam and blind us to its real aims.
Fight, commonly used in translation is better understood as KILL
While translations use the word ‘fight’ Dr Durie explains that this is a ‘deficient translation’ which fails to convey the instruction to kill. For us the term ‘fight’ might mean an argument, or a wrestle with no-one killed but this is an incorrect understanding of Islam’s text. There is a mass of text in the koran translated as fight when a better translation would be ‘engaged in an intentional, sustained activity with the purpose of killing.’
There are many verses in the Quran which refer to fighting and killing. I would like to consider the difficulty inherent in reading verses which attempt to translate the verb q?til?, found, for example, in Sura 9:29 ‘Fight the People of the Book…’; Sura 2:190 ‘Fight in the path of Allah those who fight you’ or Sura 2:193 ‘Fight them until there is no more temptation (fitna)’……